MirOS Manual: 04.uprog(PSD)

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                         PS2:3-1

                UNIX Programming - Second Edition

                       Brian W. Kernighan

                        Dennis M. Ritchie

                     AT&T Bell Laboratories

                  Murray Hill, New Jersey 07974


          This paper is an introduction  to  programming  on
     the UNIX- system. The emphasis is on how to write  pro-
     grams  that  interface  to the operating system, either
     directly or  through  the  standard  I/O  library.  The
     topics discussed include

       +  handling command arguments

       +  rudimentary I/O; the standard input and output

       +  the standard I/O library; file system access

       +  low-level I/O: open, read, write, close, seek

       +  processes: exec, fork, pipes

       +  signals - interrupts, etc.

          There is also  an  appendix  which  describes  the
     standard I/O library in detail.


     This paper describes how to write  programs  that  interface

-  UNIX  is a registered trademark of AT&T Bell Labora-
tories in the USA and other countries.

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with the  UNIX  operating  system  in  a  non-trivial  way.  This

includes  programs  that  use files by name, that use pipes, that

invoke other commands as they  run,  or  that  attempt  to  catch

interrupts and other signals during execution.

     The document collects material which is scattered throughout

several  sections of The UNIX Programmer's Manual [1] for Version

7 UNIX. There is no attempt to be complete; only generally useful

material  is  dealt with. It is assumed that you will be program-

ming in C, so you must be able to read the language roughly up to

the level of The C Programming Language [2]. Some of the material

in sections 2 through 4 is based on topics covered more carefully

there.  You  should also be familiar with UNIX itself at least to

the level of UNIX for Beginners [3].


2.1. Program Arguments

     When a C program is run as a command, the arguments  on  the

command  line are made available to the function main as an argu-

ment count argc and  an  array  argv  of  pointers  to  character

strings that contain the arguments. By convention, argv[0] is the

command name itself, so argc is always greater than 0.

     The following program illustrates the mechanism:  it  simply

echoes  its  arguments back to the terminal. (This is essentially

the echo command.)

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     main(argc, argv)        /* echo arguments */
     int argc;
     char *argv[];
             int i;

             for (i = 1; i < argc; i++)
                     printf("%s%c", argv[i], (i<argc-1) ? ' ' : '\n');

argv is a pointer to  an  array  whose  individual  elements  are

pointers  to  arrays  of characters; each is terminated by \0, so

they can be treated as strings. The program  starts  by  printing

argv[1] and loops until it has printed them all.

     The argument count and the arguments are parameters to main.

If  you  want  to  keep  them around so other routines can get at

them, you must copy them to external variables.

2.2. The ``Standard Input'' and ``Standard Output''

     The simplest input  mechanism  is  to  read  the  ``standard

input,''  which  is  generally  the user's terminal. The function

getchar returns the next input character each time it is  called.

A file may be substituted for the terminal by using the < conven-

tion: if prog uses getchar, then the command line

     prog <file

causes prog to read file instead of  the  terminal.  prog  itself

need  know  nothing about where its input is coming from. This is

also true if the input comes from another program via  the  "pipe


     otherprog | prog

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provides the standard input for prog from the standard output  of


     getchar returns the value EOF when it encounters the end  of

file  (or an error) on whatever you are reading. The value of EOF

is normally defined to be -1, but it is unwise to take any advan-

tage  of that knowledge. As will become clear shortly, this value

is automatically defined for you when you compile a program,  and

need not be of any concern.

     Similarly, putchar(c) puts the character c on the ``standard

output,''  which  is also by default the terminal. The output can

be captured on a file by using >: if prog uses putchar,

     prog >outfile

writes the standard output on outfile instead  of  the  terminal.

outfile is created if it doesn't exist; if it already exists, its

previous contents are overwritten. And a pipe can be used:

     prog | otherprog

puts the standard output of  prog  into  the  standard  input  of


     The function printf, which formats output in  various  ways,

uses  the  same mechanism as putchar does, so calls to printf and

putchar may be intermixed in any order; the output will appear in

the order of the calls.

     Similarly, the function scanf provides for  formatted  input

conversion;  it will read the standard input and break it up into

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strings, numbers, etc., as desired. scanf uses the same mechanism

as getchar, so calls to them may also be intermixed.

     Many programs read only one input and write one output;  for

such programs I/O with getchar, putchar, scanf, and printf may be

entirely adequate, and it is almost always enough to get started.

This  is  particularly  true if the UNIX pipe facility is used to

connect the output of one program to the input of the  next.  For

example, the following program strips out all ascii control char-

acters from its input (except for newline and tab).

     #include <stdio.h>

     main()  /* ccstrip: strip non-graphic characters */
             int c;
             while ((c = getchar()) != EOF)
                     if ((c >= ' ' && c < 0177) || c == '\t' || c == '\n')

The line

     #include <stdio.h>

should appear at the beginning of each source file. It causes the

C compiler to read a file (/usr/include/stdio.h) of standard rou-

tines and symbols that includes the definition of EOF.

     If it is necessary to treat multiple files, you can use  cat

to collect the files for you:

     cat file1 file2 ... | ccstrip >output

and thus avoid learning how to access files from  a  program.  By

the way, the call to exit at the end is not necessary to make the

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program work properly, but it assures that any caller of the pro-

gram will see a normal termination status (conventionally 0) from

the program when it completes. Section 6 discusses status returns

in more detail.


     The ``Standard I/O Library'' is  a  collection  of  routines

intended  to provide efficient and portable I/O services for most

C programs. The standard I/O library is available on each  system

that  supports  C, so programs that confine their system interac-

tions to its facilities can be transported  from  one  system  to

another essentially without change.

     In this section, we will discuss the basics of the  standard

I/O library. The appendix contains a more complete description of

its capabilities.

3.1. File Access

     The programs written so far have all read the standard input

and  written the standard output, which we have assumed are magi-

cally pre-defined. The next step  is  to  write  a  program  that

accesses a file that is not already connected to the program. One

simple example is wc, which counts the lines, words  and  charac-

ters in a set of files. For instance, the command

     wc x.c y.c

prints the number of lines, words and characters in x.c  and  y.c

and the totals.

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     The question is how to arrange for the  named  files  to  be

read  -  that is, how to connect the file system names to the I/O

statements which actually read the data.

     The rules are simple. Before it can be  read  or  written  a

file  has  to  be  opened by the standard library function fopen.

fopen takes an external name (like x.c or y.c), does some  house-

keeping and negotiation with the operating system, and returns an

internal name which must be used in subsequent reads or writes of

the file.

     This internal name is actually  a  pointer,  called  a  file

pointer,  to  a  structure  which  contains information about the

file, such as the location of a  buffer,  the  current  character

position  in  the buffer, whether the file is being read or writ-

ten, and the like. Users don't need to know the details,  because

part  of  the  standard  I/O  definitions  obtained  by including

stdio.h is a structure definition called FILE. The only  declara-

tion needed for a file pointer is exemplified by

     FILE    *fp, *fopen();

This says that fp is a pointer to a FILE,  and  fopen  returns  a

pointer  to  a FILE. (FILE is a type name, like int, not a struc-

ture tag.

     The actual call to fopen in a program is

     fp = fopen(name, mode);

The first argument of fopen is the name of the file, as a charac-

ter  string. The second argument is the mode, also as a character

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string, which indicates how you intend to use the file. The  only

allowable modes are read ("r"), write ("w"), or append ("a").

     If a file that you open for writing or  appending  does  not

exist,  it is created (if possible). Opening an existing file for

writing causes the old contents to be discarded. Trying to read a

file  that  does  not  exist  is an error, and there may be other

causes of error as well (like trying to  read  a  file  when  you

don't  have permission). If there is any error, fopen will return

the null  pointer  value  NULL  (which  is  defined  as  zero  in


     The next thing needed is a way to read  or  write  the  file

once  it  is open. There are several possibilities, of which getc

and putc are the simplest. getc returns the next character from a

file; it needs the file pointer to tell it what file. Thus

     c = getc(fp)

places in c the next character from the file referred to  by  fp;

it  returns  EOF when it reaches end of file. putc is the inverse

of getc:

     putc(c, fp)

puts the character c on the file fp and returns c. getc and  putc

return EOF on error.

     When a program is started, three files are opened  automati-

cally,  and  file pointers are provided for them. These files are

the standard input, the standard output, and the  standard  error

output; the corresponding file pointers are called stdin, stdout,

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and stderr. Normally these are all connected to the terminal, but

may  be redirected to files or pipes as described in Section 2.2.

stdin, stdout and stderr are pre-defined in the  I/O  library  as

the standard input, output and error files; they may be used any-

where an object of type FILE * can be. They are  constants,  how-

ever, not variables, so don't try to assign to them.

     With some of the preliminaries out of the way,  we  can  now

write  wc. The basic design is one that has been found convenient

for many programs: if there are command-line arguments, they  are

processed in order. If there are no arguments, the standard input

is processed. This way the program can be used stand-alone or  as

part of a larger process.

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     #include <stdio.h>

     main(argc, argv)        /* wc: count lines, words, chars */
     int argc;
     char *argv[];
             int c, i, inword;
             FILE *fp, *fopen();
             long linect, wordct, charct;
             long tlinect = 0, twordct = 0, tcharct = 0;

             i = 1;
             fp = stdin;
             do {
                     if (argc > 1 && (fp=fopen(argv[i], "r")) == NULL) {
                             fprintf(stderr, "wc: can't open %s\n", argv[i]);
                     linect = wordct = charct = inword = 0;
                     while ((c = getc(fp)) != EOF) {
                             if (c == '\n')
                             if (c == ' ' || c == '\t' || c == '\n')
                                     inword = 0;
                             else if (inword == 0) {
                                     inword = 1;
                     printf("%7ld %7ld %7ld", linect, wordct, charct);
                     printf(argc > 1 ? " %s\n" : "\n", argv[i]);
                     tlinect += linect;
                     twordct += wordct;
                     tcharct += charct;
             } while (++i < argc);
             if (argc > 2)
                     printf("%7ld %7ld %7ld total\n", tlinect, twordct, tcharct);

The function fprintf is identical to printf, save that the  first

argument is a file pointer that specifies the file to be written.

     The function fclose is the inverse of fopen; it  breaks  the

connection  between  the  file pointer and the external name that

was established by fopen, freeing the file  pointer  for  another

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file.  Since  there is a limit on the number of files that a pro-

gram may have open simultaneously,  it's  a  good  idea  to  free

things when they are no longer needed. There is also another rea-

son to call fclose on an output file - it flushes the  buffer  in

which  putc is collecting output. (fclose is called automatically

for each open file when a program terminates normally.)

3.2. Error Handling - Stderr and Exit

     stderr is assigned to a program in the same way  that  stdin

and  stdout  are.  Output written on stderr appears on the user's

terminal even if the standard output is redirected. wc writes its

diagnostics  on  stderr  instead  of stdout so that if one of the

files can't be accessed for some reason, the  message  finds  its

way  to  the user's terminal instead of disappearing down a pipe-

line or into an output file.

     The program actually signals errors in  another  way,  using

the function exit to terminate program execution. The argument of

exit is available to whatever process called it (see Section  6),

so the success or failure of the program can be tested by another

program that uses this one as a  sub-process.  By  convention,  a

return  value of 0 signals that all is well; non-zero values sig-

nal abnormal situations.

     exit itself calls fclose for each open output file, to flush

out  any  buffered  output, then calls a routine named _exit. The

function _exit causes immediate termination  without  any  buffer

flushing; it may be called directly if desired.

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3.3. Miscellaneous I/O Functions

     The standard I/O library provides several  other  I/O  func-

tions besides those we have illustrated above.

     Normally output with putc,  etc.,  is  buffered  (except  to

stderr); to force it out immediately, use fflush(fp).

     fscanf is identical to scanf, except that its first argument

is  a file pointer (as with fprintf) that specifies the file from

which the input comes; it returns EOF at end of file.

     The functions sscanf and sprintf are identical to fscanf and

fprintf,  except that the first argument names a character string

instead of a file pointer. The conversion is done from the string

for sscanf and into it for sprintf.

     fgets(buf, size, fp) copies the next line from fp, up to and

including  a  newline,  into  buf;  at most size-1 characters are

copied; it returns NULL at end of file. fputs(buf, fp) writes the

string in buf onto file fp.

     The function ungetc(c, fp) ``pushes back'' the  character  c

onto  the  input  stream  fp;  a subsequent call to getc, fscanf,

etc., will encounter c. Only one character of pushback  per  file

is permitted.


     This section describes the bottom level of I/O on  the  UNIX

system.  The lowest level of I/O in UNIX provides no buffering or

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any other services; it is in fact a direct entry into the operat-

ing  system. You are entirely on your own, but on the other hand,

you have the most control over what happens. And since the  calls

and usage are quite simple, this isn't as bad as it sounds.

4.1. File Descriptors

     In the UNIX operating system, all input and output  is  done

by reading or writing files, because all peripheral devices, even

the user's terminal, are files in the  file  system.  This  means

that  a  single,  homogeneous interface handles all communication

between a program and peripheral devices.

     In the most general case, before reading or writing a  file,

it  is  necessary to inform the system of your intent to do so, a

process called ``opening'' the file. If you are going to write on

a  file, it may also be necessary to create it. The system checks

your right to do so (Does the file exist? Do you have  permission

to  access  it?),  and  if  all is well, returns a small positive

integer called a file descriptor. Whenever I/O is to be  done  on

the  file,  the  file  descriptor  is used instead of the name to

identify the file. (This is  roughly  analogous  to  the  use  of

READ(5,...)  and  WRITE(6,...) in Fortran.) All information about

an open file is maintained by the system; the user program refers

to the file only by the file descriptor.

     The file pointers discussed in  section  3  are  similar  in

spirit  to file descriptors, but file descriptors are more funda-

mental. A file pointer is a pointer to a structure that contains,

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among other things, the file descriptor for the file in question.

     Since input and output involving the user's terminal are  so

common,  special arrangements exist to make this convenient. When

the command interpreter (the ``shell'') runs a program, it  opens

three  files, with file descriptors 0, 1, and 2, called the stan-

dard input, the standard output, and the standard  error  output.

All of these are normally connected to the terminal, so if a pro-

gram reads file descriptor 0 and writes file descriptors 1 and 2,

it can do terminal I/O without worrying about opening the files.

     If I/O is redirected to and from files with < and >, as in

     prog <infile >outfile

the shell changes the default assignments for file descriptors  0

and  1 from the terminal to the named files. Similar observations

hold if the input or output is associated with a  pipe.  Normally

file descriptor 2 remains attached to the terminal, so error mes-

sages can go there.  In  all  cases,  the  file  assignments  are

changed  by  the  shell, not by the program. The program does not

need to know where its input comes  from  nor  where  its  output

goes, so long as it uses file 0 for input and 1 and 2 for output.

4.2. Read and Write

     All input and output is done by two  functions  called  read

and write. For both, the first argument is a file descriptor. The

second argument is a buffer in your program where the data is  to

come  from or go to. The third argument is the number of bytes to

be transferred. The calls are

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     n_read = read(fd, buf, n);

     n_written = write(fd, buf, n);

Each call returns a byte count which is the number of bytes actu-

ally transferred. On reading, the number of bytes returned may be

less than the number  asked  for,  because  fewer  than  n  bytes

remained  to be read. (When the file is a terminal, read normally

reads only up to the next newline, which is generally  less  than

what  was requested.) A return value of zero bytes implies end of

file, and -1 indicates an error of some sort.  For  writing,  the

returned  value  is  the  number of bytes actually written; it is

generally an error if this isn't equal to the number supposed  to

be written.

     The number of bytes to be read or  written  is  quite  arbi-

trary.  The two most common values are 1, which means one charac-

ter at a time (``unbuffered''), and 512, which corresponds  to  a

physical  blocksize  on many peripheral devices. This latter size

will be most efficient, but even character at a time I/O  is  not

inordinately expensive.

     Putting these facts together, we can write a simple  program

to  copy its input to its output. This program will copy anything

to anything, since the input and output can be redirected to  any

file or device.

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     #define BUFSIZE 512     /* best size for PDP-11 UNIX */

     main()  /* copy input to output */
             char    buf[BUFSIZE];
             int     n;

             while ((n = read(0, buf, BUFSIZE)) > 0)
                     write(1, buf, n);

If the file size is not a multiple of  BUFSIZE,  some  read  will

return a smaller number of bytes to be written by write; the next

call to read after that will return zero.

     It is instructive to see how read and write can be  used  to

construct  higher  level routines like getchar, putchar, etc. For

example, here is a  version  of  getchar  which  does  unbuffered


     #define CMASK   0377    /* for making char's > 0 */

     getchar()       /* unbuffered single character input */
             char c;

             return((read(0, &c, 1) > 0) ? c & CMASK : EOF);

c must  be  declared  char,  because  read  accepts  a  character

pointer. The character being returned must be masked with 0377 to

ensure that it is positive; otherwise sign extension may make  it

negative.  (The  constant  0377 is appropriate for the PDP-11 but

not necessarily for other machines.)

     The second version of getchar does input in big chunks,  and

hands out the characters one at a time.

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     #define CMASK   0377    /* for making char's > 0 */
     #define BUFSIZE 512

     getchar()       /* buffered version */
             static char     buf[BUFSIZE];
             static char     *bufp = buf;
             static int      n = 0;

             if (n == 0) {   /* buffer is empty */
                     n = read(0, buf, BUFSIZE);
                     bufp = buf;
             return((--n >= 0) ? *bufp++ & CMASK : EOF);

4.3. Open, Creat, Close, Unlink

     Other than the default  standard  input,  output  and  error

files,  you  must explicitly open files in order to read or write

them. There are two system entry points for this, open and  creat


     open is rather like the fopen discussed in the previous sec-

tion, except that instead of returning a file pointer, it returns

a file descriptor, which is just an int.

     int fd;

     fd = open(name, rwmode);

As  with  fopen,  the  name  argument  is  a   character   string

corresponding to the external file name. The access mode argument

is different, however: rwmode is 0 for read, 1 for write,  and  2

for  read  and write access. open returns -1 if any error occurs;

otherwise it returns a valid file descriptor.

     It is an error to try to open a file that  does  not  exist.

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The  entry point creat is provided to create new files, or to re-

write old ones.

     fd = creat(name, pmode);

returns a file descriptor if it  was  able  to  create  the  file

called  name,  and  -1  if not. If the file already exists, creat

will truncate it to zero length; it is not an error  to  creat  a

file that already exists.

     If the file is brand new, creat creates it with the  protec-

tion  mode specified by the pmode argument. In the UNIX file sys-

tem, there are nine bits  of  protection  information  associated

with  a  file, controlling read, write and execute permission for

the owner of the file, for the owner's group, and for all others.

Thus a three-digit octal number is most convenient for specifying

the permissions. For example, 0755 specifies read, write and exe-

cute  permission  for  the owner, and read and execute permission

for the group and everyone else.

     To illustrate, here is a  simplified  version  of  the  UNIX

utility cp, a program which copies one file to another. (The main

simplification is that our version copies only one file, and does

not permit the second argument to be a directory.)

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     #define NULL 0
     #define BUFSIZE 512
     #define PMODE 0644 /* RW for owner, R for group, others */

     main(argc, argv)        /* cp: copy f1 to f2 */
     int argc;
     char *argv[];
             int     f1, f2, n;
             char    buf[BUFSIZE];

             if (argc != 3)
                     error("Usage: cp from to", NULL);
             if ((f1 = open(argv[1], 0)) == -1)
                     error("cp: can't open %s", argv[1]);
             if ((f2 = creat(argv[2], PMODE)) == -1)
                     error("cp: can't create %s", argv[2]);

             while ((n = read(f1, buf, BUFSIZE)) > 0)
                     if (write(f2, buf, n) != n)
                             error("cp: write error", NULL);

     error(s1, s2)   /* print error message and die */
     char *s1, *s2;
             printf(s1, s2);

     As we said earlier, there is a limit  (typically  15-25)  on

the number of files which a program may have open simultaneously.

Accordingly, any program which intends to process many files must

be  prepared to re-use file descriptors. The routine close breaks

the connection between a file descriptor and an  open  file,  and

frees  the file descriptor for use with some other file. Termina-

tion of a program via exit or return from the main program closes

all open files.

     The function unlink(filename) removes the file filename from

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the file system.

4.4. Random Access - Seek and Lseek

     File I/O is normally sequential: each read  or  write  takes

place  at  a  position  in the file right after the previous one.

When necessary, however, a file can be read  or  written  in  any

arbitrary  order.  The  system  call lseek provides a way to move

around in a file without actually reading or writing:

     lseek(fd, offset, origin);

forces the current position in the file whose descriptor is fd to

move  to position offset, which is taken relative to the location

specified by origin. Subsequent reading or writing will begin  at

that  position. offset is a long; fd and origin are int's. origin

can be 0, 1, or 2 to specify that offset is to be  measured  from

the  beginning, from the current position, or from the end of the

file respectively. For example, to append to a file, seek to  the

end before writing:

     lseek(fd, 0L, 2);

To get back to the beginning (``rewind''),

     lseek(fd, 0L, 0);

Notice the 0L argument; it could also be written as (long) 0.

     With lseek, it is possible to treat files more or less  like

large  arrays,  at  the  price of slower access. For example, the

following simple function reads any  number  of  bytes  from  any

arbitrary place in a file.

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     get(fd, pos, buf, n) /* read n bytes from position pos */
     int fd, n;
     long pos;
     char *buf;
             lseek(fd, pos, 0);      /* get to pos */
             return(read(fd, buf, n));

     In pre-version 7 UNIX, the basic entry point to the I/O sys-

tem  is  called seek. seek is identical to lseek, except that its

offset argument is an int rather than  a long. Accordingly, since

PDP-11  integers have only 16 bits, the offset specified for seek

is limited to 65,535; for this reason, origin values of 3,  4,  5

cause  seek  to  multiply  the given offset by 512 (the number of

bytes in one physical block) and then interpret origin as  if  it

were  0,  1, or 2 respectively. Thus to get to an arbitrary place

in a large file requires two seeks, first one which  selects  the

block,  then  one  which  has  origin equal to 1 and moves to the

desired byte within the block.

4.5. Error Processing

     The routines discussed in this section, and in fact all  the

routines  which  are  direct  entries  into  the system can incur

errors. Usually they indicate an error by returning  a  value  of

-1. Sometimes it is nice to know what sort of error occurred; for

this purpose all these routines, when appropriate, leave an error

number  in  the  external cell errno. The meanings of the various

error numbers are listed in the introduction to Section II of the

UNIX  Programmer's  Manual,  so  your  program  can, for example,

determine if an attempt to open a file failed because it did  not

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-22                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

exist  or  because the user lacked permission to read it. Perhaps

more commonly, you may want to print out the reason for  failure.

The routine perror will print a message associated with the value

of errno; more generally, sys_errno  is  an  array  of  character

strings  which  can  be indexed by errno and printed by your pro-



     It is often easier to use a program written by someone  else

than to invent one's own. This section describes how to execute a

program from within another.

5.1. The ``System'' Function

     The easiest way to execute a program from another is to  use

the standard library routine system. system takes one argument, a

command string exactly as typed at the terminal (except  for  the

newline  at the end) and executes it. For instance, to time-stamp

the output of a program,

             /* rest of processing */

If the command string has to be built from pieces, the  in-memory

formatting capabilities of sprintf may be useful.

     Remember than getc and putc  normally  buffer  their  input;

terminal  I/O  will  not  be  properly  synchronized  unless this

buffering is defeated. For output, use  fflush;  for  input,  see

                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-23

setbuf in the appendix.

5.2. Low-Level Process Creation - Execl and Execv

     If you're not using the standard library,  or  if  you  need

finer control over what happens, you will have to construct calls

to other programs using the  more  primitive  routines  that  the

standard library's system routine is based on.

     The most basic  operation  is  to  execute  another  program

without  returning, by using the routine execl. To print the date

as the last action of a running program, use

     execl("/bin/date", "date", NULL);

The first argument to execl is the file name of the command;  you

have  to  know  where  it is found in the file system. The second

argument is conventionally the program name (that  is,  the  last

component  of the file name), but this is seldom used except as a

place-holder. If the command takes arguments, they are strung out

after this; the end of the list is marked by a NULL argument.

     The execl call overlays the existing program  with  the  new

one,  runs  that,  then exits. There is no return to the original


     More realistically, a program might fall into  two  or  more

phases  that communicate only through temporary files. Here it is

natural to make the second pass simply an  execl  call  from  the


     The one exception to the  rule  that  the  original  program

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-24                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

never  gets control back occurs when there is an error, for exam-

ple if the file can't be found or is not executable. If you don't

know where date is located, say

     execl("/bin/date", "date", NULL);
     execl("/usr/bin/date", "date", NULL);
     fprintf(stderr, "Someone stole 'date'\n");

     A variant of execl called execv is  useful  when  you  don't

know  in  advance  how  many arguments there are going to be. The

call is

     execv(filename, argp);

where argp is an array of pointers to  the  arguments;  the  last

pointer  in  the  array  must be NULL so execv can tell where the

list ends. As with execl, filename is the file in which the  pro-

gram  is  found,  and  argp[0]  is the name of the program. (This

arrangement is identical to the  argv  array  for  program  argu-


     Neither of these routines provides the  niceties  of  normal

command  execution.  There  is  no  automatic  search of multiple

directories - you have to know precisely  where  the  command  is

located.  Nor  do you get the expansion of metacharacters like <,

>, *, ?, and [] in the argument list.  If  you  want  these,  use

execl  to invoke the shell sh, which then does all the work. Con-

struct a string commandline that contains the complete command as

it would have been typed at the terminal, then say

     execl("/bin/sh", "sh", "-c", commandline, NULL);

The shell is assumed  to  be  at  a  fixed  place,  /bin/sh.  Its

                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-25

argument  -c  says  to treat the next argument as a whole command

line, so it does just what you want. The only problem is in  con-

structing the right information in commandline.

5.3. Control of Processes - Fork and Wait

     So far what we've talked about isn't really all that  useful

by itself. Now we will show how to regain control after running a

program with execl or execv. Since these routines simply  overlay

the new program on the old one, to save the old one requires that

it first be split into two copies; one of these can be  overlaid,

while  the other waits for the new, overlaying program to finish.

The splitting is done by a routine called fork:

     proc_id = fork();

splits the program into two copies, both  of  which  continue  to

run. The only difference between the two is the value of proc_id,

the ``process id.'' In one of these  processes  (the  ``child''),

proc_id  is  zero. In the other (the ``parent''), proc_id is non-

zero; it is the process number of the child. Thus the  basic  way

to call, and return from, another program is

     if (fork() == 0)
             execl("/bin/sh", "sh", "-c", cmd, NULL);        /* in child */

And in fact, except for handling errors, this is sufficient.  The

fork  makes  two  copies  of the program. In the child, the value

returned by fork is zero,  so  it  calls  execl  which  does  the

command and then dies. In the parent, fork returns non-zero so it

skips the execl. (If there is any error, fork returns -1).

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-26                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

     More often, the parent wants to wait for the child  to  ter-

minate  before continuing itself. This can be done with the func-

tion wait:

     int status;

     if (fork() == 0)

This still doesn't handle any  abnormal  conditions,  such  as  a

failure of the execl or fork, or the possibility that there might

be more than one child running simultaneously. (The wait  returns

the  process  id of the terminated child, if you want to check it

against the value  returned  by  fork.)  Finally,  this  fragment

doesn't  deal  with  any  funny behavior on the part of the child

(which is reported in status). Still, these three lines  are  the

heart  of the standard library's system routine, which we'll show

in a moment.

     The status returned by wait encodes in its  low-order  eight

bits the system's idea of the child's termination status; it is 0

for normal termination and non-zero to indicate various kinds  of

problems.  The next higher eight bits are taken from the argument

of the call to exit which caused  a  normal  termination  of  the

child  process.  It  is  good coding practice for all programs to

return meaningful status.

     When a program is  called  by  the  shell,  the  three  file

descriptors  0,  1, and 2 are set up pointing at the right files,

and all other possible file descriptors are  available  for  use.

When  this  program calls another one, correct etiquette suggests

                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-27

making sure the same conditions hold. Neither fork nor  the  exec

calls  affects  open files in any way. If the parent is buffering

output that must come out  before  output  from  the  child,  the

parent  must flush its buffers before the execl. Conversely, if a

caller buffers an input stream, the called program will lose  any

information that has been read by the caller.

5.4. Pipes

     A pipe is an  I/O  channel  intended  for  use  between  two

cooperating  processes:  one  process writes into the pipe, while

the other reads. The system looks after buffering  the  data  and

synchronizing  the  two  processes. Most pipes are created by the

shell, as in

     ls | pr

which connects the standard output of ls to the standard input of

pr.  Sometimes,  however,  it is most convenient for a process to

set up its own plumbing; in this section, we will illustrate  how

the pipe connection is established and used.

     The system call pipe creates a pipe. Since a  pipe  is  used

for  both reading and writing, two file descriptors are returned;

the actual usage is like this:

     int     fd[2];

     stat = pipe(fd);
     if (stat == -1)
             /* there was an error ... */

fd is an array of two file descriptors, where fd[0] is  the  read

side  of  the pipe and fd[1] is for writing. These may be used in

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-28                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

read, write and close calls just like any other file descriptors.

     If a process reads a pipe which is empty, it will wait until

data  arrives; if a process writes into a pipe which is too full,

it will wait until the pipe empties somewhat. If the  write  side

of  the  pipe  is closed, a subsequent read will encounter end of


     To illustrate the use of pipes in a realistic  setting,  let

us write a function called popen(cmd, mode), which creates a pro-

cess cmd (just as system does), and  returns  a  file  descriptor

that  will  either read or write that process, according to mode.

That is, the call

     fout = popen("pr", WRITE);

creates a process that executes the pr command; subsequent  write

calls using the file descriptor fout will send their data to that

process through the pipe.

     popen first creates the the pipe with a pipe system call; it

then  forks  to  create  two  copies of itself. The child decides

whether it is supposed to read or write, closes the other side of

the  pipe,  then  calls  the shell (via execl) to run the desired

process. The parent likewise closes the end of the pipe  it  does

not  use.  These  closes  are necessary to make end-of-file tests

work properly. For example, if a child that intends to read fails

to  close the write end of the pipe, it will never see the end of

the pipe file, just  because  there  is  one  writer  potentially


                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-29

     #include <stdio.h>

     #define READ    0
     #define WRITE   1
     #define tst(a, b)       (mode == READ ? (b) : (a))
     static  int     popen_pid;

     popen(cmd, mode)
     char    *cmd;
     int     mode;
             int p[2];

             if (pipe(p) < 0)
             if ((popen_pid = fork()) == 0) {
                     close(tst(p[WRITE], p[READ]));
                     close(tst(0, 1));
                     dup(tst(p[READ], p[WRITE]));
                     close(tst(p[READ], p[WRITE]));
                     execl("/bin/sh", "sh", "-c", cmd, 0);
                     _exit(1);       /* disaster has occurred if we get here */
             if (popen_pid == -1)
             close(tst(p[READ], p[WRITE]));
             return(tst(p[WRITE], p[READ]));

The sequence of closes in the child is a bit tricky. Suppose that

the  task  is  to create a child process that will read data from

the parent. Then the first close closes the  write  side  of  the

pipe, leaving the read side open. The lines

     close(tst(0, 1));
     dup(tst(p[READ], p[WRITE]));

are the conventional way to associate the  pipe  descriptor  with

the standard input of the child. The close closes file descriptor

0, that is, the standard input. dup is a system call that returns

a  duplicate of an already open file descriptor. File descriptors

are assigned in increasing order and the first available  one  is

returned, so the effect of the dup is to copy the file descriptor

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-30                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

for the pipe (read side) to file descriptor 0; thus the read side

of  the  pipe  becomes  the  standard  input. (Yes, this is a bit

tricky, but it's a standard idiom.) Finally, the old read side of

the pipe is closed.

     A similar sequence of operations takes place when the  child

process  is supposed to write from the parent instead of reading.

You may find it a useful exercise to step through that case.

     The job is not quite done, for  we  still  need  a  function

pclose  to  close  the pipe created by popen. The main reason for

using a separate function rather than close is that it is  desir-

able to wait for the termination of the child process. First, the

return value from pclose indicates whether the process succeeded.

Equally important when a process creates several children is that

only a bounded number of unwaited-for children can exist, even if

some  of them have terminated; performing the wait lays the child

to rest. Thus:

                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-31

     #include <signal.h>

     pclose(fd)      /* close pipe fd */
     int fd;
             register r, (*hstat)(), (*istat)(), (*qstat)();
             int      status;
             extern int popen_pid;

             istat = signal(SIGINT, SIG_IGN);
             qstat = signal(SIGQUIT, SIG_IGN);
             hstat = signal(SIGHUP, SIG_IGN);
             while ((r = wait(&status)) != popen_pid && r != -1);
             if (r == -1)
                     status = -1;
             signal(SIGINT, istat);
             signal(SIGQUIT, qstat);
             signal(SIGHUP, hstat);

The calls to signal make sure that no interrupts, etc., interfere

with the waiting process; this is the topic of the next section.

     The routine as written has the limitation that only one pipe

may  be  open  at  once,  because  of  the single shared variable

popen_pid; it really should be an array indexed by file  descrip-

tor.  A  popen  function,  with  slightly different arguments and

return value is available as part of  the  standard  I/O  library

discussed below. As currently written, it shares the same limita-



     This section is concerned with how to deal  gracefully  with

signals  from  the outside world (like interrupts), and with pro-

gram faults. Since there's nothing very useful that can  be  done

from within C about program faults, which arise mainly from ille-

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-32                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

gal memory references or from execution of peculiar instructions,

we'll discuss only the outside-world signals: interrupt, which is

sent when the DEL character is typed; quit, generated by  the  FS

character; hangup, caused by hanging up the phone; and terminate,

generated by the kill command. When one of these  events  occurs,

the  signal  is sent to all processes which were started from the

corresponding terminal; unless other arrangements have been made,

the signal terminates the process. In the quit case, a core image

file is written for debugging purposes.

     The routine  which  alters  the  default  action  is  called

signal. It has two arguments: the first specifies the signal, and

the second specifies how to treat it. The first argument is  just

a  number  code,  but the second is the address is either a func-

tion, or a somewhat strange code that requests  that  the  signal

either  be  ignored,  or that it be given the default action. The

include file signal.h gives names for the various arguments,  and

should always be included when signals are used. Thus

     #include <signal.h>
     signal(SIGINT, SIG_IGN);

causes interrupts to be ignored, while

     signal(SIGINT, SIG_DFL);

restores the default action of process termination. In all cases,

signal returns the previous value of the signal. The second argu-

ment to signal may instead be the name of a function  (which  has

to  be  declared  explicitly  if  the  compiler  hasn't  seen  it

already). In this case, the named routine will be called when the

                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-33

signal  occurs.  Most commonly this facility is used to allow the

program to clean up unfinished business before  terminating,  for

example to delete a temporary file:

     #include <signal.h>

             int onintr();

             if (signal(SIGINT, SIG_IGN) != SIG_IGN)
                     signal(SIGINT, onintr);

             /* Process ... */



     Why the test and the double call to signal? Recall that sig-

nals like interrupt are sent to all processes started from a par-

ticular terminal. Accordingly, when a program is to be  run  non-

interactively  (started by &), the shell turns off interrupts for

it so it won't be stopped by interrupts intended  for  foreground

processes.  If  this  program began by announcing that all inter-

rupts were to be sent to  the  onintr  routine  regardless,  that

would undo the shell's effort to protect it when run in the back-


     The solution, shown above, is to test the state of interrupt

handling,  and  to  continue  to  ignore  interrupts  if they are

already being ignored. The code as written depends  on  the  fact

that signal returns the previous state of a particular signal. If

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-34                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

signals were already being ignored, the process  should  continue

to ignore them; otherwise, they should be caught.

     A more sophisticated program may wish to intercept an inter-

rupt  and  interpret it as a request to stop what it is doing and

return to its own command-processing loop. Think of a  text  edi-

tor:  interrupting  a  long  printout should not cause it to ter-

minate and lose the work already done. The outline  of  the  code

for this case is probably best written like this:

     #include <signal.h>
     #include <setjmp.h>
     jmp_buf sjbuf;

             int (*istat)(), onintr();

             istat = signal(SIGINT, SIG_IGN);        /* save original status */
             setjmp(sjbuf);  /* save current stack position */
             if (istat != SIG_IGN)
                     signal(SIGINT, onintr);

             /* main processing loop */

             longjmp(sjbuf); /* return to saved state */

The include file setjmp.h declares the type jmp_buf an object  in

which  the  state can be saved. sjbuf is such an object; it is an

array of some sort. The setjmp routine then saves  the  state  of

things.  When an interrupt occurs, a call is forced to the onintr

routine, which can print  a  message,  set  flags,  or  whatever.

longjmp  takes  as  argument an object stored into by setjmp, and

restores control to the location after the  call  to  setjmp,  so

                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-35

control  (and  the stack level) will pop back to the place in the

main routine where the  signal  is  set  up  and  the  main  loop

entered. Notice, by the way, that the signal gets set again after

an interrupt occurs. This is necessary; most signals are automat-

ically reset to their default action when they occur.

     Some programs that want to detect signals  simply  can't  be

stopped  at  an  arbitrary  point,  for  example in the middle of

updating a linked list. If the routine called on occurrence of  a

signal  sets  a  flag and then returns instead of calling exit or

longjmp, execution will continue at the exact point it was inter-

rupted. The interrupt flag can then be tested later.

     There is one difficulty associated with this approach.  Sup-

pose  the  program  is reading the terminal when the interrupt is

sent. The specified routine is duly called; it sets its flag  and

returns.  If it were really true, as we said above, that ``execu-

tion resumes at the exact point it was interrupted,'' the program

would  continue reading the terminal until the user typed another

line. This behavior might well be confusing, since the user might

not  know that the program is reading; he presumably would prefer

to have the signal take effect instantly. The  method  chosen  to

resolve  this  difficulty  is to terminate the terminal read when

execution resumes after the signal, returning an error code which

indicates what happened.

     Thus programs which catch and resume execution after signals

should be prepared for ``errors'' which are caused by interrupted

system calls. (The ones  to  watch  out  for  are  reads  from  a

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-36                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

terminal,  wait,  and pause.) A program whose onintr program just

sets intflag, resets the interrupt signal,  and  returns,  should

usually  include  code like the following when it reads the stan-

dard input:

     if (getchar() == EOF)
             if (intflag)
                     /* EOF caused by interrupt */
                     /* true end-of-file */

     A final subtlety to keep  in  mind  becomes  important  when

signal-catching  is  combined  with  execution of other programs.

Suppose a program catches interrupts, and also includes a  method

(like  ``!''  in  the  editor) whereby other programs can be exe-

cuted. Then the code should look something like this:

     if (fork() == 0)
     signal(SIGINT, SIG_IGN);        /* ignore interrupts */
     wait(&status);  /* until the child is done */
     signal(SIGINT, onintr); /* restore interrupts */

Why is this? Again, it's not obvious but  not  really  difficult.

Suppose  the  program you call catches its own interrupts. If you

interrupt the subprogram, it will get the signal  and  return  to

its  main  loop, and probably read your terminal. But the calling

program will also pop out of its wait for the subprogram and read

your terminal. Having two processes reading your terminal is very

unfortunate, since the system figuratively flips a coin to decide

who  should  get  each line of input. A simple way out is to have

the parent program ignore interrupts until  the  child  is  done.

This  reasoning is reflected in the standard I/O library function


                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-37

     #include <signal.h>

     system(s)       /* run command string s */
     char *s;
             int status, pid, w;
             register int (*istat)(), (*qstat)();

             if ((pid = fork()) == 0) {
                     execl("/bin/sh", "sh", "-c", s, 0);
             istat = signal(SIGINT, SIG_IGN);
             qstat = signal(SIGQUIT, SIG_IGN);
             while ((w = wait(&status)) != pid && w != -1)
             if (w == -1)
                     status = -1;
             signal(SIGINT, istat);
             signal(SIGQUIT, qstat);

     As an aside on declarations, the function  signal  obviously

has  a rather strange second argument. It is in fact a pointer to

a function delivering an integer, and this is also  the  type  of

the  signal  routine  itself.  The two values SIG_IGN and SIG_DFL

have the right type, but are chosen so they coincide with no pos-

sible  actual functions. For the enthusiast, here is how they are

defined for the PDP-11; the definitions  should  be  sufficiently

ugly and nonportable to encourage use of the include file.

     #define SIG_DFL (int (*)())0
     #define SIG_IGN (int (*)())1


[1]  K. L. Thompson and D.  M.  Ritchie,  The  UNIX  Programmer's

     Manual, Bell Laboratories, 1978.

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-38                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

[2]  B. W.  Kernighan  and  D.  M.  Ritchie,  The  C  Programming

     Language, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1978.

[3]  B. W. Kernighan, ``UNIX for Beginners  -  Second  Edition.''

     Bell Laboratories, 1978.

                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-39

                 Appendix - The Standard I/O Library

                            D. M. Ritchie

                        AT&T Bell Laboratories

                    Murray Hill, New Jersey 07974

     The standard I/O library was  designed  with  the  following

goals in mind.

1.   It must be as efficient as possible, both  in  time  and  in

     space,  so  that  there will be no hesitation in using it no

     matter how critical the application.

2.   It must be simple to use, and also free of the magic numbers

     and  mysterious  calls  whose use mars the understandability

     and portability of many programs using older packages.

3.   The interface provided should be applicable on all machines,

     whether  or not the programs which implement it are directly

     portable to other systems, or to  machines  other  than  the

     PDP-11 running a version of UNIX.

1.  General Usage

     Each program using the library must have the line

                     #include <stdio.h>

which defines certain macros and variables. The routines  are  in

the  normal  C  library, so no special library argument is needed

for loading. All names in the  include  file  intended  only  for

internal use begin with an underscore _ to reduce the possibility

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-40                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

of collision with a user name. The names intended to  be  visible

outside the package are

stdin     The name of the standard input file

stdout    The name of the standard output file

stderr    The name of the standard error file

EOF       is actually -1, and is the value returned by  the  read

          routines on end-of-file or error.

NULL      is  a  notation  for  the  null  pointer,  returned  by

          pointer-valued functions to indicate an error

FILE      expands to struct _iob and is a useful  shorthand  when

          declaring pointers to streams.

BUFSIZ    is a number (viz. 512) of the size suitable for an  I/O

          buffer supplied by the user. See setbuf, below.

getc, getchar, putc, putchar, feof, ferror, fileno

          are defined as  macros.  Their  actions  are  described

          below;  they are mentioned here to point out that it is

          not possible to redeclare them and that  they  are  not

          actually  functions;  thus,  for  example, they may not

          have breakpoints set on them.

     The routines  in  this  package  offer  the  convenience  of

automatic  buffer  allocation and output flushing where appropri-

ate. The names stdin, stdout, and stderr are in effect  constants

and may not be assigned to.

                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-41

2.  Calls

FILE *fopen(filename, type) char *filename, *type;

     opens the file and, if needed, allocates a  buffer  for  it.

     filename  is a character string specifying the name. type is

     a character string (not a single character). It may be  "r",

     "w",  or  "a"  to indicate intent to read, write, or append.

     The value returned is a file pointer.  If  it  is  NULL  the

     attempt to open failed.

FILE *freopen(filename, type, ioptr) char *filename, *type; FILE *ioptr;

     The  stream named by ioptr is closed, if necessary, and then

     reopened as if by fopen. If the attempt to open fails,  NULL

     is  returned,  otherwise  ioptr, which will now refer to the

     new file. Often the reopened stream is stdin or stdout.

int getc(ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     returns the next character from the stream named  by  ioptr,

     which  is  a pointer to a file such as returned by fopen, or

     the name stdin. The integer EOF is returned  on  end-of-file

     or  when  an  error occurs. The null character \0 is a legal


int fgetc(ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     acts like getc but is a genuine function, not a macro, so it

     can be pointed to, passed as an argument, etc.

putc(c, ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     putc writes the character c on the output  stream  named  by

     ioptr,  which  is  a  value  returned  from fopen or perhaps

     stdout or stderr. The character is returned  as  value,  but

     EOF is returned on error.

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-42                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

fputc(c, ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     acts like putc but is a genuine function, not a macro.

fclose(ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     The file corresponding to ioptr is closed after any  buffers

     are  emptied. A buffer allocated by the I/O system is freed.

     fclose is automatic on normal termination of the program.

fflush(ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     Any buffered information on the  (output)  stream  named  by

     ioptr  is written out. Output files are normally buffered if

     and only if they are not directed to the terminal;  however,

     stderr  always  starts  off unbuffered and remains so unless

     setbuf is used, or unless it is reopened.


     terminates the process and returns its argument as status to

     the  parent.  This is a special version of the routine which

     calls fflush for each  output  file.  To  terminate  without

     flushing, use _exit.

feof(ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     returns non-zero when end-of-file has occurred on the speci-

     fied input stream.

ferror(ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     returns non-zero when an error has occurred while reading or

     writing  the  named stream. The error indication lasts until

     the file has been closed.


     is identical to getc(stdin).


                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-43

     is identical to putc(c, stdout).

char *fgets(s, n, ioptr) char *s; FILE *ioptr;

     reads up to n-1 characters from the stream  ioptr  into  the

     character  pointer  s.  The  read  terminates with a newline

     character. The newline character is  placed  in  the  buffer

     followed  by a null character. fgets returns the first argu-

     ment, or NULL if error or end-of-file occurred.

fputs(s, ioptr) char *s; FILE *ioptr;

     writes the null-terminated string (character array) s on the

     stream ioptr. No newline is appended. No value is returned.

ungetc(c, ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     The argument character c is pushed back on the input  stream

     named by ioptr. Only one character may be pushed back.

printf(format, a1, ...) char *format;

fprintf(ioptr, format, a1, ...) FILE *ioptr; char *format;

sprintf(s, format, a1, ...)char *s, *format;

     printf writes on the standard output. fprintf writes on  the

     named  output stream. sprintf puts characters in the charac-

     ter array (string) named by s.  The  specifications  are  as

     described  in  section  printf(3)  of  the UNIX Programmer's


scanf(format, a1, ...) char *format;

fscanf(ioptr, format, a1, ...) FILE *ioptr; char *format;

sscanf(s, format, a1, ...) char *s, *format;

     scanf reads from the standard input. fscanf reads  from  the

     named  input  stream. sscanf reads from the character string

     supplied as  s.  scanf  reads  characters,  interprets  them

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-44                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

     according  to  a format, and stores the results in its argu-

     ments. Each routine expects as arguments  a  control  string

     format,  and  a  set  of  arguments, each of which must be a

     pointer, indicating where  the  converted  input  should  be

     stored.  scanf  returns  as its value the number of success-

     fully matched and assigned input items. This can be used  to

     decide  how many input items were found. On end of file, EOF

     is returned; note that this is different from 0, which means

     that the next input character does not match what was called

     for in the control string.

fread(ptr, sizeof(*ptr), nitems, ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     reads nitems of data beginning at ptr from  file  ioptr.  No

     advance  notification  that  binary  I/O  is  being  done is

     required;  when,  for  portability   reasons,   it   becomes

     required,  it will be done by adding an additional character

     to the mode-string on the fopen call.

fwrite(ptr, sizeof(*ptr), nitems, ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     Like fread, but in the other direction.

rewind(ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     rewinds the stream named by ioptr. It  is  not  very  useful

     except  on  input, since a rewound output file is still open

     only for output.

system(string) char *string;

     The string is executed by the shell as if typed at the  ter-


getw(ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     returns the next word from the input stream named by  ioptr.

                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-45

     EOF  is  returned  on end-of-file or error, but since this a

     perfectly good integer feof and ferror  should  be  used.  A

     ``word'' is 16 bits on the PDP-11.

putw(w, ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     writes the integer w on the named output stream.

setbuf(ioptr, buf) FILE *ioptr; char *buf;

     setbuf may be used after a stream has been opened but before

     I/O  has  started. If buf is NULL, the stream will be unbuf-

     fered. Otherwise the buffer supplied will be used.  It  must

     be a character array of sufficient size:

          char    buf[BUFSIZ];

fileno(ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     returns the integer  file  descriptor  associated  with  the


fseek(ioptr, offset, ptrname) FILE *ioptr; long offset;

     The location of the next byte in the stream named  by  ioptr

     is  adjusted. offset is a long integer. If ptrname is 0, the

     offset is measured  from  the  beginning  of  the  file;  if

     ptrname  is  1, the offset is measured from the current read

     or write pointer; if ptrname is 2, the  offset  is  measured

     from  the end of the file. The routine accounts properly for

     any buffering. (When this routine is used on  non-UNIX  sys-

     tems, the offset must be a value returned from ftell and the

     ptrname must be 0).

long ftell(ioptr) FILE *ioptr;

     The byte offset, measured from the beginning  of  the  file,

     associated  with the named stream is returned. Any buffering

                          April 3, 2017

PS2:3-46                        UNIX Programming - Second Edition

     is properly accounted for. (On non-UNIX systems the value of

     this  call  is  useful  only  for handing to fseek, so as to

     position the file to the same place it was  when  ftell  was


getpw(uid, buf) char *buf;

     The password file is searched for the given integer user ID.

     If an appropriate line is found, it is copied into the char-

     acter array buf, and 0 is returned.  If  no  line  is  found

     corresponding to the user ID then 1 is returned.

char *malloc(num);

     allocates num bytes. The pointer  returned  is  sufficiently

     well  aligned to be usable for any purpose. NULL is returned

     if no space is available.

char *calloc(num, size);

     allocates space for num items each of size size.  The  space

     is guaranteed to be set to 0 and the pointer is sufficiently

     well aligned to be usable for any purpose. NULL is  returned

     if no space is available .

cfree(ptr) char *ptr;

     Space is returned to the pool used by calloc.  Disorder  can

     be expected if the pointer was not obtained from calloc.

The following are macros whose definitions  may  be  obtained  by

including <ctype.h>.

isalpha(c) returns non-zero if the argument is alphabetic.

isupper(c) returns non-zero if the argument is upper-case  alpha-


islower(c) returns non-zero if the argument is lower-case  alpha-

                          April 3, 2017

UNIX Programming - Second Edition                        PS2:3-47


isdigit(c) returns non-zero if the argument is a digit.

isspace(c) returns non-zero if the argument is a spacing  charac-

ter:  tab,  newline,  carriage  return,  vertical tab, form feed,


ispunct(c) returns non-zero if the argument  is  any  punctuation

character, i.e., not a space, letter, digit or control character.

isalnum(c) returns non-zero if the argument  is  a  letter  or  a


isprint(c) returns non-zero if the  argument  is  printable  -  a

letter, digit, or punctuation character.

iscntrl(c) returns non-zero if the argument is a control  charac-


isascii(c) returns non-zero if the argument is an  ascii  charac-

ter, i.e., less than octal 0200.

toupper(c) returns the upper-case character corresponding to  the

lower-case letter c.

tolower(c) returns the lower-case character corresponding to  the

upper-case letter c.

                          April 3, 2017

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